The Penguins will look to change things up and the Devils can help.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have now been upset in embarrassing fashion in two-straight playoff series. Last season, the New York Islanders went into the series against one of the favorites to win it all, and they swept them. This season, the Penguins got the easiest matchup on paper against the Montreal Canadiens. The 12 seed had 71 points in the regular season, less than anyone in the league that’s still alive. They came in and just destroyed the Penguins.
The Pens had a ton of issues, especially for a team that spent as much as it did during the NHL Trade Deadline. Making moves for Jason Zucker, Conor Sheary, Patrick Marleau, and even trade with these very same Canadiens to add depth forwards Phil Varone and Riley Barber (neither of which ended up playing much). All they got for this was one win in the play-in round against Carey Price, who was fantastic.
Now, the Penguins have to go back to the drawing board. They made major changes this past offseason, sending Phil Kessel to Arizona for Alex Galchenyuk. That worked out terribly. So, we see them letting some of their free agents go, and even making a trade for a few players.
The New Jersey Devils should be able to take advantage of this situation. The Penguins will be looking for teams with cap space and young players at various levels of development. Meanwhile, there are some intriguing options for the Devils to target here when it comes to trades and free agency. While the Penguins underachieved terribly for the second-straight season, there’s an insane amount of talent on this team even outside Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. These five players could be interesting pursuits for the Devils.